Entering the Metaverse: How Businesses Can Take Their First Virtual Steps
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If the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, how do you take that step on a virtual journey? In a recent conversation, I was asked, “How does someone move through the metaverse?” Do they float? Are they slipping? Are you walking or running, or is it more like surfing? »
The questions revealed both genuine curiosity and genuine misunderstanding shared by most people who are unsure what to make of this multi-universe, immersive experience that has generated as much interest as it has corporate investment. and individuals. bet the metaverse is the future.
Why are Nike and Adidas developing shoes for this virtual stage? Why is Coca-Cola creating a “pixel flavor” drink? Why are offices, classrooms, gymnasiums, concert halls, sports arenas, and all other centers of entertainment and education moving to the metaverse? More importantly, how does a company, regardless of size and industry, prepare to take the first steps on their virtual journey?
For businesses attempting to enter the metaverse, there are a series of steps that must be taken that mirror many of the same actions a business would take if entering a new market in the physical world. From defining and researching the market, to analyzing and evaluating opportunities and risks, to designing a market entry plan, to finally allocating and releasing the necessary resources, to both in capital and organizational capacity.
If a business was interested in opening a new physical location in the real world, the business would aggregate data on various locations, study the consumer population in each location, and investigate the possibility of further development by other locations. other companies in these same spots. The same destination evaluation and comparison process exists in the metaverse.
Once an ideal position is identified and selected, a company should develop a market entry plan recognizing the short and long term risks, threats and opportunities. Then, once that business strategy is organized, use that analysis to help design and develop the virtual space and experience.
In order to encourage business leaders, C-suite members, and esteemed stakeholders to embrace expansion into the metaverse, such due diligence must also include considerations specific to the ever-evolving complexities and trends that drive participation and value in the metaverse.
To understand how the process of entering the metaverse differs from entering new markets in the real world, let’s examine the qualities and characteristics that create such distinctions and why they will be important to company management and parties. valued stakeholders.
The volatility of virtual investments
When a company determines how to enter a market in the real world, geographic, demographic and consumer behavior data drives the decision-making process. In a virtual space, the information to form such conclusions remains minimal by comparison.
Although data is readily available through virtual platforms, companies should view their virtual space as a high volatility investment. Many companies looking to acquire property or space in the metaverse may want to turn to virtual real estate agents to secure the most coveted locations and minimize the risk to their business.
Not only will such professional advice and assistance create more security in speculation, but the additional consideration of use, design and experience that will be offered before making any capital investment will reduce worries and increase opportunities. .
Where are you?
In virtual world platforms like Decentraland, Sandbox and others, there are virtual planets and virtual plots of land available for purchase that range from tens of dollars to hundreds of thousands and in the most bizarre cases to millions. . These plots are sold as blockchain-backed NFTs and once purchased, they are developed, leased, or simply held in hopes that the land or property will appreciate. If you are a business making this virtual investment, appreciation should not be the primary focus.
The most important priority for brands building in these virtual spaces is ease of being found. Where are you? How do consumers find you? This problem mirrors that of the real world. To help overcome this challenge, one approach is to have a strategy focused on building multi-plot properties, making it easier to locate and providing greater options in the creative design and development process.
These “districts” or “subdivisions”, depending on the platforms whose vocabulary evolves, will be more easily identifiable on the virtual map for users. Much like the location of major brands in malls, the value of location resides in both size and proximity to other audience-generating brands or virtual experiences.
If the experience of the virtual world is successful, it will be thanks to superior immersiveness. Concerts, movies, sporting events, and consumer experiences must offer interactivity and holistic engagement that makes the real world look dull and devoid of possibility by comparison. While entertainment companies will more easily master the metaverse experience offered to audiences, brands and companies in the vast majority of other industries will likely struggle to conceptualize and develop the level of immersiveness that will be required to be effective.
Healthcare, education and financial services could all thrive on virtual properties and offerings – healthcare professionals see patients and patients creating communities of support, classrooms that go beyond textbooks but bring the subject to life for greater curiosity and stock markets with available real-time multi-dimensional metrics that make Bloomberg terminals seem obsolete.
These virtual consumption and participation theme parks allow brands to be reinvented, offer the possibility of new sources of income and obviously appeal to a younger audience who may not have yet encountered or interacted with these same brands. in the real world.
How long until Progressive or Geico offers a virtual insurance policy to protect against car accidents in the metaverse? Can Bank of America or Wells Fargo teach customers about financial responsibility more easily through an interactive explanation in a virtual bank? When will physiotherapy include metaverse meetings with specialists, who can monitor the patient’s progress?
Companies and organizations that currently see no future in this Web3 world will end up making such a pivot, only to recognize the opportunities that have existed all along. To effectively produce the best results from these businesses, being disciplined digital investors, focusing on location and ease of visibility, and fully committing to superior immersiveness will set the winners apart from the rest.
Wyatt Ferber has spent the past 10 years building digital communities and platforms at CBS, FOX and more.
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